CHAOS-CH2 Cheap Epistemology (045)
In this episode of the podcast. Bill Giovannetti continues sharing new book, CHAOS:As Goes the Church, So Goes the World.
Chapter 2 - Cheap Epistemology
I have in my library a worn out, orange, paperback book entitled Basic Christian Doctrines, first published in 1962 and then reprinted in 1971.1
I do not remember when I first picked up this book, but I do know I was in my twenties. I also recall wanting to be personally equipped to teach and defend these doctrines to the Awana leaders I served with.
The book contains 45 chapters on the essential foundations of evangelical faith. Each chapter is written by a theological heavyweight of a bygone era. The whole work is edited by the late, great Carl F. H. Henry. Forty-five chapters, each one plumbing the depths, the nuances, and the distinctive features of evangelicalism’s cardinal doctrines.
The book is remarkable to me today for two main reasons.
First, it uses the word basic in its title.
By today’s standards, however, this book is anything but basic. It explores theology in deep and meaningful ways. It deals with nuances that would be lost on most modern Christians.
What I am saying is that what a past generation considered basic, today's generation would consider too advanced to bother with.
The book differentiates the communicable from the incommunicable attributes of God. It discusses Original Sin, and the imputation of Adam’s guilt. It opens up the doctrine of the Mystical Union between Christ and His people, and includes a chapter on the Kenotic Theory relative to the person of Christ.
If these are yesterday’s basics, doesn’t that indicate there is something radically different today?
A second equally disturbing reason I find the book remarkable is that each of its chapters was first published, not in some abstract theological journal, but in the popular level magazine Christianity Today. The theologically rich content of this book was considered suitable for the average Christian reader of its day.
In my estimation, the seminary student of today would have a hard time plowing through this book. Many pastors would struggle with it. Yet Christianity Today found it needful and suitable for its broad readership back in the day.
Something has changed.
I suspect that what has changed is the answer to a singularly important question which we must never stop asking.
That question is: Where do you get your truth?
The technical name for this topic is epistemology. Ever since Satan suckered Eve into questioning God's Word in the Garden of Eden, God’s people have fought the downward pull of cheap epistemology.
There is a growing roster of cheap substitutes for the in-depth teaching of the Word of God. These substitutes are cheap because they are imitations of the real thing. They are cheap because they are intellectually effortless. They are cheap because they capitulate to the spirit of the age, wimping out rather than confronting the destructive lies of our demonically hypnotized culture.
Dear Christian, where do you find your truth?
1. Contemporary opinion
A 2019 article in Christian Headlines described a seminary president who rejects the literal bodily resurrection of Christ. She also rejects the virgin birth, prayer for healing, and miracles. She has no faith in heaven, or life after death, yet she is the president of Union Theological Seminary. 2
Of course this is the sad trend in liberal branches of theology. Once they discard the Bible anything goes, including the teaching of Wicca and other forms of paganism in schools that were once solely devoted to the Word of God.